A senior member of Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Deutschland party has caused a stir by converting to Islam.
Arthur Wagner, who was until recently a member of the Brandenburg state legislative committee, said his decision to become a Muslim was a ‘private matter’.
But members of his party have repeatedly stressed that Islam ‘does not belong’ in Germany and that multiculturalism and mass migration are bad for the country.
At the time of the migration crisis – when Angela Merkel unilaterally declared that over a million people could come to Germany from around the world – Wagner said the chancellor was making a ‘huge mistake’, Tagesspiegel reported.
He explained: ‘Germany is mutating into another country.’
Wagner has resigned his senior position with the party for ‘private reasons’, according to an AfD official quoted in Berliner Zeitung.
Daniel Friese added that the party believes in the German constitution’s provision for freedom of religion.
‘Mr. Wagner resigned on January 11 from the state board on his own volition. Only afterwards was it known that he had converted to Islam,’ Friese said.
Despite his views on the migration crisis, however, Wagner is also well known for his voluntary work with refugees in his hometown of Falkensee.
He once admired Merkel, but after the mass movement of people into Germany he said he had made a ‘gigantic mistake’ about her.
It is AfD’s ‘mission’ to ‘save this country,’ he added.
He was previously a member of her Christian Democrats party.
Wagner declined to comment on his conversion. ‘He does not want to speak with the press. He believes it is a private affair,’ the party spokesman said.
The AfD became Germany’s third largest party in parliament after last September’s general election.